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Archives from April 2009
A Nation of Laws
PAUL W. LOVINGER And JEANNETTE HASSBERG
Mindful that the mission of the Department of Justice is largely to “enforce the law” and “seek just punishment for those guilty of unlawful behavior,” we have made this recommendation in a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.: Appo...
Obama and "Two States"
ELLEN CANTAROW
A false claim is wafting through the press: Obama is hanging tough with Benjamin Netanyahu, he’s going to “twist Israel’s arm” and at long last force the Jewish state into a two-state agreement, settling the Israel-Palestine question for good...
The McCarthyism That Horowitz Built
DANA L. CLOUD
In early April, the jury in Ward Churchill’s civil trial against the University of Colorado found, in his favor, that the University had fired him because of critical remarks he made after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. While Churchill awaits a h...
The Only Path to a Middle East Picnic?
JOHN GOEKLER
There’s a phenomenon in complexity science called “path dependence”. It’s the kind of blind persistence ants display when following pheromone trails back to a table from which the picnic basket has long since been removed. It’s a common...
The Coming Asian Storm
CONN HALLINAN
According to a lot of mainstream thinking Asia is weathering the current economic meltdown. “Asians are taking the economic collapse far more calmly than many in the west,” writes David Pilling, Asian editor for the Financial Times. The region he says, &...
Tortured by the Past
FRANK SNEPP
When Bush administration lawyers wrote their memos authorizing extreme interrogation tactics at Guantanamo, they had to conjure up horrible images: Prisoners gagging and sputtering as their interrogators reproduced the sensation of drowning. Human heads slammed repe...
The Business of Pandemics
BINOY KAMPMARK
In 2006, international health expert Richard Feachem told audiences at Cambridge University at a Darwin lecture that the world’s capacity to deal with pandemics was dangerously inadequate.  His interest then, as now, was combating various pandemics, many ...
The Wrong Torture Question
DAVID SWANSON
When Americans get "ethical" these days they ponder the great moral mysteries, like "Is public health coverage fair to insurance companies?" or "If we increase the military budget but reduce one section of it, can the whole world still be sa...
The Perils of Modernization in Afghanistan
BRIAN DOWNING
Since counterinsurgency was first bandied about in US bureaus and agencies in the early sixties, the idea has been associated with western ideas of economic development and modernization – dissolving a backward traditional society and building a vigorous moder...
Not Dead Yet
RON JACOBS
GIs and Iraqis still dying in battle in Iraq. An increase in troops and air attacks in Afghanistan. Civilian casualties on the rise. Despite campaign promises to begin bringing US troops home from Iraq in 2009, the number of US troops in Iraq remains virtually uncha...
An End to Crack/Powder Cocaine Sentencing Disparity?
JASMINE TYLER And ANTHONY PAPA
On President Obama’s 100th day in office the White House asked Congress to address the issue of disparity in penalties for the use of powder/crack cocaine. This historic request follows a national lobby day held yesterday that was co-sponsored by a dozen advoc...
Ecuador at the Crossroads
ERIC TOUSSAINT
In the general elections held on Sunday 26 April, Ecuadorians granted their president Rafael Correa a new four-year mandate. He took over 52% of the votes, placing him more than 20 points ahead of Lucio Gutierrez, his main opponent, the former right-wing president wh...
Cheney’s Twisted World
ANDY WORTHINGTON
Since the publication last week of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s report into detainee abuse in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantánamo (...
The Specter Diversion
CHRIS FLOYD
So the Democrats have yet another supporter of aggressive war, oligarchy, authoritarianism and torture in their Senate ranks. Wow, that will certainly shake up the political landscape in Washington! It looks like the promised New Jerusalem of hope and change has wel...
Zionist Lobby Targets Another Tenured Professor
DOUG HENWOOD
DOUG HENWOOD: We’re now joined by William Robinson, who is a Professor of Sociology at the University of California in Santa Barbara, someone I met about six or seven years ago at a conference and, although I’ve disagreed with him on some issues, I thoug...
Will Iceland be Handed Over to a New Gang of Kleptocrats?
MICHAEL HUDSON
For Iceland’s voters in the election last Saturday  the issues were more pragmatic than a supposed unseating of the right by the left, the trend most emphasized in news coverage. The country’s main problem is reckless neoliberal bank privatization a...
My Ron Pollack Problem–And Yours
RUSSELL MOKHIBER
Karen Ignagni is not the problem. As president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, Karen Ignagni represents the health insurance industry. The same health insurance industry that would be wiped out by a single payer national health insurance sys...
A Specter is Haunting the Democrats
DAVE LINDORFF
For almost a generation, the Democrats in Congress have been able to pretend to be the party of ordinary working people, the party of progressives, and the inheritor of the mantel of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, all the while doing little of substance and ca...
Death at Work in America
JOANN WYPIJEWSKI
The Man giveth, and The Man taketh away. Forty years ago, when Americans — lots of Americans —  made things, more of them died in a year on the job than died in a year fighting in Vietnam. This never registered much in the national consciousness. De...
The Nuremberg Truth and Reconciliation Commission?
JEREMY SCAHILL
Representatives John Conyers and Jerrold Nadler are officially asking Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint an independent Special Prosecutor “to investigate and, where appropriate, prosecute” participants in the Bush-era US torture system. “A Sp...
The Taliban’s Roads to Kabul
PATRICK COCKBURN
Kabul. Hamid Karzai, who played host to the British prime minister, Gordon Brown, in Kabul two days ago, will have been delighted to hear the Prime Minister confirm the long-standing Afghan belief that there can be no long-term success against the Taliban in ...
Georgian Plots?
CONN HALLINAN
At the bottom of the recent demonstrations that have packed the capital city of Tbilisi with tens of thousands of protesters demanding the resignation of Georgian President Mikheil Saakavili is an investigation by the European Union (EU) as to who started last summe...
Beyond MoveOn
JOHN STAUBER
Recently the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice asked me to write an article for them with my ideas of how grassroots activists could better use the internet for real change. As a member of the group, I was happy to tackle that assignment, and here are my though...
Pirates, Profits and Propaganda
JEFF NYGAARD
On April 8th, 2009 the news broke in the U.S. media of “a riveting high-seas drama [in which] an unarmed American crew wrested control of their U.S.-flagged cargo ship from Somali pirates … and sent them fleeing to a lifeboat with the captain as hostage....
A Financial Transactions Tax
DEAN BAKER
Just like that perfect sweater, a financial transactions tax (FTT) would look just great on those Wall Street bankers and financiers. A modest tax, which would be too small for normal investors to even notice, could easily raise more than $100 billion a year. That&r...
Beyond MoveOn
JOHN STAUBER
Recently the Wisconsin Network for Peace and Justice asked me to write an article for them with my ideas of how grassroots activists could better use the internet for real change. As a member of the group, I was happy to tackle that assignment, and here are my though...
The Failed Border Security Initiative
TOM BARRY
Something isn’t working. In late 2005 Michael Chertoff, the new secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), launched the "Secure Border Initiative" as the umbrella program for border control and immigration enforcement. The announc...
At the Factory Gate
MICHAEL D. YATES
[Author’s note: This story is from my new book, In and Out of the Working Class...
Obama’s Iraq
JEREMY SCAHILL
Remember when Barack Obama made that big announcement at Camp Lejeune about how all US combat troops were going to be withdrawn from Iraqi cities by June 30? Liberals jumped around with joy, praising Obama for ending the war so that they could focus on their “...
Who Pays for America’s Chernobyl Roulette?
HARVEY WASSERMAN
As the US attempts to dig out from economic collapse, a little-known nuclear industry liability could seriously derail Obama’s attempt to revive our finances. It is the federal disaster insurance on 104 rickety atomic reactors. Because the industry can...
Why the U.S. Still Hates Cuba
FREDERICO FUENTES
At the centre of the Summit of the Americas held in Trinidad and Tobago over April 17-19, was the only country from the hemisphere not present — Cuba. Speaking at the opening session, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega noted that while a large majority ...
A Little Red Light
URI AVNERY
Perhaps Avigdor Lieberman is only a passing episode in the annals of the State of Israel. Perhaps the fire he is trying to ignite will flicker briefly and go out by itself. Or perhaps the police investigations into the grave corruption affair of which he is suspecte...
Obama’s Sins of Omission
ANDREW J. BACEVICH
The history of American liberalism is one of promoting substantively modest if superficially radical reforms in order to refurbish and sustain the status quo. From Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal to Bill Clinton’s New Covenant, liberals have specialized in ...
Iceland’s New Dawn
JOSÉ M. TIRADO
The numbers are in and they are decisive. The longstanding, corporate-right forces of the Independence Party, known here as Iceland’s “Republicans”, have received a trouncing at the polls. With 100% of the vote tallied, the Social Democratic Allianc...
Torture? It Probably Killed More Americans Than 9/11
PATRICK COCKBURN
"The reason why foreign fighters joined al-Qa’ida in Iraq was overwhelmingly because of abuses at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib and not Islamic ideology," says Major Matthew Alexander, who personally conducted 300 interrogations of prisoners in Iraq. It w...
Crimes of Economic Madness
FIRMIN DeBRABANDER
I am long used to my hometown Baltimore being the murder capital of the nation. Suddenly this week Maryland is the murder-suicide capital. We have seen two such gruesome crimes this past week, and what makes them especially distressing (if such superlatives are even ...
Overhauling the IMF
MARK WEISBROT
The International Monetary Fund turns 65 this year. Until the current economic crisis, it had reduced its workload drastically to a near-retirement level. Its total loan portfolio plummeted by 92 percent in four years. But like many senior citizens who have been hit ...
Wide Open to Pandemic?
DAVE LINDORFF
The outbreak of a new swine flu in Mexico, and the potential threat of a new global pandemic, shines a bright light on a major weakness in the United States—an employment system where most workers are not paid or even face getting let go if they get sick and ha...
The 165-Minute Swoop-In
FRANKLIN LAMB
Beirut On June 17, 2008, then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice set a remarkable American and World Record for the shortest visit   to Lebanon ever recorded by a serving US Secretary of State. The objective was to express love, affection, and non-i...
How Corrupt is That?
RUSSELL MOKHIBER
The AFL-CIO recently posted a health care survey on its web site. And ...
The Far Right’s Plot to Capture New Hampshire
PAM MARTENS
One of the most audacious and cynical corporate-backed social experiments in living memory, the Free State Project in New Hampshire, has now shifted into damage control mode.  Free State operatives learned this past week of my article that appears in the current...
Why Battering the Tamil Tigers Won’t Bring Peace
MITU SENGUPTA
Over the course of a long and brutal war with Sri Lanka’s armed forces, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the LTTE) emerged as one of the world’s most formidable insurgent groups.  Besides engaging the Sri Lankan government in a bloody battle for...
Pinter’s Message to Obama
MIKE WHITNEY
Come and see the blood in the streets. Come and see the blood in the streets. Come and see the blood in the streets! –Pablo Neruda About a month before Barack Obama announced his candidacy for the...
A Housing Crash Update
MIKE WHITNEY
Why is the press misleading the public about housing? The housing market is crashing. There are no "green shoots" or "glimmers of hope"; the market is worn to a stump, it’s kaput. Still, whenever new housing figures are released, they’...
Seventeen Months in "the Hole"
SAUL LANDAU
This conversation took place on April 1, 2009. Our film crew received Justice Department approval to talk with “the prisoner,” with a prison official in the room. Before his 1998 arrest, Gerardo Hernandez directed the operations of the other Cuban State S...
Torture Used to Try to Link Saddam with 9/11
MARJORIE COHN
When I testified last year before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties about Bush interrogation policies, Congressman Trent Franks (R-Ariz) stated that former CIA Director Michael Hayden had confirm...
Top of the Heap
CHRIS FLOYD
Could it really have ended any other way? As the New York Times reports, Barack Obama and the Democratic Establishment are coming down hard and fast to quell any incipient movement toward accountability for the Bush Regime’s torture system. These "l...
Torture is More Than Just "Harsh Tactics"
RON JACOBS
Once again, the issue of torture by US operatives is in the news.  Barack Obama’s administration recently released some classified information from the recent past that details the debates and eventual support for the program of torture undertaken by the C...
Mubarak’s Expanding Enemies List
RANNIE AMIRI
A telltale sign of a dictator’s waning influence is increasing paranoia. And this is exactly what Egypt’s U.S.-backed dictator, President Hosni Mubarak, is suffering from. At a time when criticism over Egypt’s abetment of the Israeli siege a...
Collective Farming and the Lynch Case
FRED GARDNER
Things looked grim for Charles Lynch last week when the Department of Justice instructed the U.S. Attorney in Los Angeles to keep seeking a five-year mandatory minimum sentence in his case. Lynch had been convicted in federal court last summer of marijuana-law violat...